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International Maritime Organization
Shipping is perhaps the most international of the world's industries, serving more than 90 percent of global trade by carrying huge quantities of cargo cost effectively, cleanly and safely.
The ownership and management chain surrounding any ship can embrace many countries and ships spend their economic life moving between different jurisdictions, often far from the country of registry. There is, therefore, a need for international standards to regulate shipping - which can be adopted and accepted by all. The first maritime treaties date back to the 19th century. Later, the Titanic disaster of 1912 spawned the first international safety of life at sea - SOLAS - convention, still the most important treaty addressing maritime safety.
The Convention establishing the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was adopted in Geneva in 1948 and IMO first met in 1959. IMO's main task has been to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping, and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical cooperation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.
A specialized agency of the United Nations with 168 member states and three associate members, IMO is based in the United Kingdom with around 300 international staff.
Phone: 44 (0)20 7735 7611
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